Winter Olympics 2018: The LGBT Community Applauds Gus Kenworthy Who Kissed His Boyfriend On Live TV

Date February 19, 2018 18:09

When the American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy shared a kiss with boyfriend Matthew Wilkas at the bottom of the hill before Sunday morning’s ski slopestyle qualifying, he was not aware that cameras captured the moment.

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"I am gay"

Gus came out as gay in 2015 and is one of three openly gay athletes at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics this year. The Olympian said he'd wanted to kiss his then-boyfriend at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia but had decided against it at the last moment.

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He has spoken at length about initially fearing losing sponsors and friends.

What a moment!

The significance of an openly gay male athlete kissing another man on primetime network television during one of the world’s most significant collective experiences was not lost on the Saturday night audience.

Back home in the United States, it quickly went viral and was feted by LGBT activists as a marker of progress amid the media’s much-criticized handling of gay athletes.

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The British-born Kenworthy, competing despite suffering a broken thumb during training on Thursday and having six vials of blood drained from a hematoma on his hip, was one of eight skiers to score 90 or better in qualifying for the afternoon final at the Phoenix Snow Park, where he ultimately failed to land any of his three runs and finished last out of 12 finalists.

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Norway’s Oystein Braaten won the gold ahead of Kenworthy’s American team-mate Nick Goepper and Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, who took silver and bronze respectively to nudge Great Britain’s James Woods off the podium.

And the 26-year-old later took to social media to share his thoughts on the moment.

On the other, the 26-year-old from Colorado took heart in knowing he put his best effort forth on a global stage as his true self. Kenworthy came out in 2015, a year after winning silver at the Sochi Games. He has since emerged as a prominent voice in the LGBT community, has more well-known sponsors than ever before, and in 2017, got a Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group.

Kenworthy is one of a record number of openly gay Olympians at these Winter Games, including American figure skater Adam Rippon, who won team bronze and finished 10th in Saturday’s competition, in addition to at least a dozen more from other countries.

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LGBT Winter Olympics TV